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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 201

Paragraph Numbers 92 to 104

Volume 6

Section 3

Chapter 1

Subsection 10

The ‘Kwandebele Nine’

92. On the night of 15 July 1986, just two weeks after the killing of the ‘ N i e t v e rdiend Ten’, nine youths were shot dead and their bodies set alight in a house in Kwandebele.4 2 The youths had been expecting Constable Joe Mamasela, who had offered to provide them with arms and training, but when they opened the door to him, Northern Transvaal hit squad members burst in. The youths were lined up and shot. Captain Hechter poured petrol over the bodies before setting them alight. The applicants were granted amnesty for this operation [AC/1999/248; AC/1999/030; AC/1999/033].

42 Volume Tw o, Chapter Three, p. 2 6 4 .
Jeffrey Sibaya and Mpho

93. In June 1987, Constable Joe Mamasela, posing as an MK operative, lured Mr Jeff rey Sibaya and a man known as ‘Mpho’ (possibly Mr Moses Lerutla) out of the township. Believing they were being taken for military training, the men followed Mamasela to a place north of Pienaarsrivier where they were beaten, kicked and then strangled to death by Northern Transvaal Security Branch operatives. Their bodies were subsequently placed on a landmine on a road in Bophuthatswana, which was then detonated. The applicants were granted amnesty for this operation [AC/1999/030; AC/1999/032].

The ‘Soweto Three’

94. The Soweto Intelligence Unit (SIU) received information that a local Soweto activist, Casswell Richard Nceba, and other Soweto Youth Congress (SOYCO) members were involved in a campaign of intimidation, including attacks on the homes of policemen and informers. They also believed it possible that the group was in contact with MK structures. As a result, an askari attached to the SIU, Constable Moleke Peter Lengene, infiltrated SOYCO.

95. Constable Lengene supplied the group with AK47s, hand grenades and an SPM limpet mine. He later drew in two Vlakplaas askaris who provided training in the use of these weapons.

96. At this stage, the commander of the SIU, Lieutenant Anton Pretorius, approached the divisional commander of the Soweto Security Branch, Brigadier Sarel Petrus Nienaber, who granted permission to launch an entrapment operation. On 2 July 1989, three members of the SOYCO group were supplied with zero-timed limpet mines: Mr Nceba was killed when the zero-timed limpet mine detonated, Mr Bheki Khumalo was shot dead and Mr Richard Ngwenya died from injuries sustained after being shot.

97. The applicants were granted amnesty for the operation [AC/2001/007]. However, when granting them amnesty the Amnesty Committee had the following to say:

We must express our concern at the practice of giving training to these activists in the use of sophisticated and dangerous weaponry and then justify the need to act pro-actively by killing them, advancing the reason that they (activists) had become dangerous resultant to that training. In the present matter, Nienaber stated that the police created ‘a monster’ when they gave training to the activist. We agree with these sentiments. It however begs the question whether there w e re indeed no other available methods short of ‘creating a monster’ that could have been effectively used to obtain the required information [AC/2001/007].

98. In most of the above cases, the applicants admitted that they had not known the identity of the targets at the time. On their own evidence, they made little attempt to establish the identities of the individuals concerned, nor to check whether the Security Branch already had information about them and whether prosecutions would have been possible. On the other hand, one also needs to approach the version of events the applicants presented to the Amnesty Committee with some caution. It may well be that applicants intended to give the Amnesty Committee the impression that they were mere pawns in the hands of their superiors, rather than active players with a far greater knowledge and understanding of the operations in which they were involved.

99. The Amnesty Committee received security force applications for sixteen deaths in this category.

100. Four of the killings occurred in the 1980/81 period: two were askaris killed by C1/Vlakplaas because their loyalties were questioned, and two were alleged informants.

101. Applicants from C1/Vlakplaas, Security Branch Headquarters, Northern and Eastern Transvaal and the Eastern Cape Security Branches applied for amnesty for the killing of four black policemen, the wife of a policeman, two askaris and two sources between 1986 and 1989. C1/Vlakplaas and Port Natal Security Branch sought amnesty for the killing of three askaris in the post-1990 period. In addition, C1/Vlakplaas operatives applied for amnesty for the killing of two former askaris who had escaped.

102. With the exception of one askari who was killed by white members of C1/Vlakplaas on a drunken spree and two who were killed during ambushes, the remaining askaris appear to have been killed for fear that they might disclose evidence about hit squad activities.

103. Only in one instance, that of the ‘Motherwell Four’, were the perpetrators charged and convicted.

104. In addition to the above killings, C/1Vlakplaas and operatives from the Technical Division of Security Branch Headquarters applied for amnesty for the attempted killing of former Vlakplaas commander, Captain Dirk Coetzee. Although the attempt failed, it resulted in the killing of human rights lawyer Bheki Mlangeni.

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